Category Archives: Cheswick Green
At Full Council last week (Tuesday 3 December) the Local Development Plan was formally adopted. It is now a legal document and is the blue print for development within Solihull for the next 15 years. The full document can viewed via this link: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/Local_Plan_Final__low_resolution.pdf
The Inspectors Report, paragraph 14, reads:
The Solihull Local Plan (SLP) establishes the strategic planning framework for Solihull for the period up to 2028, setting out a spatial portrait of the Borough, identifying its challenges, objectives and vision. It establishes a spatial strategy and a series of strategic policies to achieve sustainable economic growth, provide homes for all, improve accessibility and encourage sustainable travel, protect and enhance the environment, promote quality of place and support local communities. It not only provides the strategic planning context for the Borough, but also makes site-specific allocations, including housing and employment land. It is accompanied by an extensive evidence base, including Background Papers, technical reports and studies, strategies and sustainability appraisals.
The inspector’s report (link here: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/SolihullLP_final.pdf ) does mention other factors to be taken into consideration, such as a duty to consider the future housing needs of Birmingham – who have only just begun to prepare their long term housing needs. This is an important issue (especially as I, like many other residents of Solihull, moved to the borough from Birmingham in the last 30 years) but Birmingham has many brown field sites it must use for their housing needs before seeking to ask neighbouring authorities to identify land for their needs. Basically, I believe the situation is no different to what has been in existence for the last three decades.
Paragraphs 80 to 83 of the inspectors report relate specifically to development sites within Blythe ward. The inspector justifies their inclusion in the LDP and finds the phasing of the release of the sites for development being ‘soundly based’. I know that many residents will appreciate this last statement.
What happens now?
I did attend Full Council on 3 December to support the LDP – to not have a plan would leave the borough at the mercy of developers and a return to the John Prescott days. Unfortunately, business was going very slowly on the night and two hours into the meeting we were still about 90 mins away from discussing the LDP. I had to leave the meeting because I was only 17 days after having a hip replacement and was in a bit of discomfort. However, let me very clear – I support the LDP.
There are issues that will need resolving when planning applications are submitted and discussed at the Planning Committee and as a member of that committee it is vital I do not seek to predetermine my decisions. It is important acknowledge though that some planning application shave been made for sites that are not within the LDP and other planning applications brought forward from the suggested phasing within the LDP. These will be determined on an individual basis by the planning committee.
Readers may wish to look at a previous post about this site (dated 10 July), this outlined the original application to provide an additional permanent one static caravan pitch at the rear of 74 Dickens Heath Road, Shirley, Solihull. Planning application 2013/137/S refers and the final report, which went to the Planning Committee on 30 October 2013 can be viewed via this link:http://www.solihull.gov.uk/akssolihull/users/public/admin/kab12.pl?cmte=PLA&meet=106&arc=71
There has been a change in the general circumstances since the original application in July. In addition, at the October planning committee meeting I was appointed as the council’s Planning Committee Vice-Chair. This brings extra responsibility when deliberating planning applications, however I have always sought to provide a balanced viewpoint with planning applications and look at the wider picture.
At the October planning committee meeting I voted to agree the recommendations of the boroughs planning officers in respect of this planning application. The main worry for me was that if the application was refused by the committee (contrary to the report from the council’s experts) then any appeal by the applicants may succeed and costs will be awarded against the council. The rationale behind this is the draft ‘Gypsy and Traveller Site Allocations Development Plan Document’. This was submitted to the planning inspectorate in July 2013 and the submission document can be viewed via this link – http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/DPD_001_Submission_Document_July_2013.pdf . Para 7.6.3 on page 24 refers to the site in Dickens Heath Road, also known as ‘UPLANDS’. It is also a concern that if the application was refused and if an appeal was viewed to be successful then the planning inspectorate may well declare the need for the traveller site to be placed elsewhere in the ward. Yes, there are a few if’s here, but these issues need to be taken into consideration.
Page 23 of the planning officer’s report is quite important and I copy a paragraph here “Whilst the DPD is not yet formally adopted, it has reached an advanced stage and is expected to be adopted later this year and can therefore be accorded significant weight. This application is fully in accordance with the emerging policy document and Policy P6 of the Draft Local Plan which can now be given full weight in the absence of any outstanding unresolved objections. The site performs extremely well when measured against the Council’s agreed criteria for determining such applications.”
On the same planning committee agenda as this application was one for an extension to one of two sites in Salter Street, Cheswick Green. This application can be viewed here : http://eservices.solihull.gov.uk/mginternet/documents/s1863/131483SALTERSTREET.pdf . This application was refused but it is important to state I understand the Secretary of the Independent Ratepayers Association (who saw fit to address the meeting in respect of the Dickens Heath Road site – thus preventing the local parish council from addressing the committee) did submit a report to the council last year suggesting one of the two Salter Street sites could be extended. I totally disagree with this suggestion, which could be interpreted by a planning inspector as highlighting some local support. The Salter Street sites are very close to a church and a large primary school and I believe any expansion here is inappropriate. This was also on of my considerations in agreeing to the Uplands application.
In concluding I wish to highlight that the previously ‘unauthorised’ site at Uplands has posed little problems for residents and even when I had an allotment next to the site I did not know it was a traveller site. I also suspect the vast majority of residents were also not aware of the site and a bit of scaremongering has waged in order to try and bring local opposition.
The latest report covering the whole of the Meriden (rural) side of Solihull is posted here Newsletter October 2013 . As usual, some excellent work being done in partnership both in Blythe ward and Solihull in general. I also realise I did not post Septembers report, her it is: Newsletter September 2013
Much has been mentioned about the land on Tanworth Lane, known as Mount Dairy Farm, Cheswick Green, Shirley, Solihull. The site is subject to the council’s Local Development Plan (LDP) ‘Solihull Draft Local Plan – Shaping a Sustainable Future’ which was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in September 2012. The LDP is yet to be formally adopted but the Planning Inspector, in his interim comments (April 2013) has stated the plan is sound. The LDP submission document can be viewed via this link: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/Solihull_Draft_Local_Plan_Sept_2012.pdf and the inspector interim conclusions via this one: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/Interim_Conclusions.pdf . The inspector is to take further submissions in October 2013 before presenting his final report, hopefully this side of the New Year. That no comment has been made about Mount Dairy Farm can be construed as the inspector being satisfied with its inclusion in Solihull’s LDP.
The main issues local residents, especially near to Willow Drive and Coppice Walk, Cheswick Green have with the site is the presence of Mount dairy Brook, a waterway that flows into the River Blythe nearby. Severe flooding took place in 2007 and 2012 and residents are naturally concerned that any development on the site (Mount Dairy Farm) will only cause more flooding to gardens and roads in the vicinity. There is a real fear that if development is allowed then flooding of houses will occur. The site plan can be found on page 168 of the LDP and on page 147 readers can see the site is set for release after 1 April 2023. I am content with this, purely on the basis that, having taken into consideration the history of the site, the period between now and 2023 will allow a detailed examination of the effects of any flooding taking place in the next few years and how any development on the site will affect the locality. It is reasonable to suggest that recent wet weather is as a result of climate change, and even if you are a climate change denier, the flooding of 2007 and 2012 bear more time for scrutiny.
I have met with officers of the council who are responsible for the sustainable development in the borough. I wished to find out as much as I could about the site and how it came to be included in the recent LDP.
Mount Dairy Farm has been the subject of development as far back a 1991/1992, when local authorities had a Unitary Development Plan (UDP). In a report by a Planning Inspector, dated 22 July 1992, the inspector commented, at paragraph 2.339 (page 58) ‘Gallagher’s Cheswick Green site with its 27 acre and proposed 250 houses could be made available in the next two years’ It goes on to state ‘Development of the site would make Cheswick Green with its 800 or so 1970s houses a more compact settlement, physically linking older housing fronting Tanworth Lane with more modern housing to the east’. In para 2.344 (page 59) the inspector recommends the council give consideration to omitting two sites owned by Gallagher (including Mount dairy Farm) be omitted from the Green Belt. I have posted the link to this document here: MDF 1992 Rpt (1)
On page 175 of the same report, (Rpt 2) MDF 1992 Rpt (2) , in para 6.55 (a) and (b) recommended Solihull Council to give consideration to his comment to: ‘assessing the Borough’s long term development needs and deciding where a reasonable amount of land to meet theses needs should be safeguarded; and ensuring that the aforesaid land is safeguarded by appropriate development control policies’. Mount Dairy Farm became land ‘safeguarded’ for possible use as land for housing development.
The next important date is 1996, when the borough’s UDP was reviewed. Document MDF 1996 Rpt MDF 1996 Rpt is an extract from the Inspectors report. The two pages scanned from the report relate to the site in Tanworth Lane. The findings are quite telling and a sentence in para 5.4.2 reads ‘…would mean the loss of attractive green fields but the question was explored at the 1991 Inquiry and Inspector Bushby concluded that this site should have a high priority for housing; and there is insufficient reason to depart from his conclusions’.
In 2006 the site was again identified for possible development (page 23) within the Solihull Unitary Development Plan 2006: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/2006writtenstatementcomp.pdf . When reviewing the 1997 UDP (in 2005) the then Planning Inspector recommended no modifications to the boroughs UDP in respect of Mount dairy Farm: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/Ch03.pdf (see pages 40/41). He did refer to:
• Are there any exceptional circumstances to justify deleting this site as
safeguarded land and returning it to the Green Belt, in view of its
background and evolution;
• Is this site appropriately identified as an area of safeguarded land,
particularly in view of locational and sustainability considerations and the
impact on the character of the settlement, residential amenity, traffic and
• Is there a compelling case to justify designating this site as a strategic
housing allocation to meet current and future housing land requirements.
He concluded in para 3.161 ‘Consequently, I conclude that this site is appropriately designated as safeguarded land and there are no exceptional circumstances to justify returning it to the Green Belt’. He did though stress: ‘The detailed concerns of local residents and others would be fully addressed if and when a decision is taken to consider this site for housing development in the future’.
Although brief, this report is detailed in respect of dates when Mount Dairy Farm was considered by different planning inspectors. In respect of the current LDP, page mentions planning policy H2 and clearly advises that safeguarded land needs to be considered before green belt land. This is the case with Mount Dairy Farm and why it has remained as land for release for possible housing development. The current LDP (albeit still to be adopted) is specific about the Mount Dairy Farm site in stipulating a proportion of land should be allocated for the provision of open space and there should be flood attenuation measures.
Readers may wish to view my post, of 10 July, about the public consultation/exhibition held by Bloor Homes as part of their pre-planning application consultation for development of this site: http://cllrkenhawkins.co.uk/2013/07/10/tanworth-lane-cheswick-green/ .
I/we await a formal planning application by Bloor Homes to develop the site and until then there is little that can be done. I will object to any planning application purely on the basis that the LDP has sustainability of housing development at its heart and that by not releasing the land for development until after 1 April 2023 flood risks should either have been realised or effective action by the Environment Agency radically reduced the likelihood of future flooding and that allowing release at this date will help local schools and service adapt to the increase in housing development in a structured manner.
In any event a formal planning application by Bloor Homes (or any other developer) needs to show a detailed flood risk assessment which both Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and the Environment Agency will need to accept.
Please feel free to make comment on this site or email me at email@example.com
Please find posted the latest monthly Neighbourhood Report covering the rural side of Solihull; this includes my ward, Blythe. You will find details of operations and projects between the council officers and police neighbourhood teams, with some excellent work being undertaken. Newsletter September 2013
Also shown on the newsletter are details of Police Beat surgeries. For Blythe ward these will be:
19 September – 3.30 x 4.30pm at Dickens Heath Library
9 October – 11am x 1pm Cuppa with a Copper at Notcutts
21 October – 6 x 7pm at Tesco’s Store.
Readers may wish to look at the post of Jul12 last (http://cllrkenhawkins.co.uk/2013/07/12/another-planning-aplication-shirley-golf-club/) for full details of the application by the golf club to establish a driving range, golf academy and build 57 new homes on green belt land. I have taken possession of a 166 named petition from local residents who object to the planning application and it will be presented to the Council’s planning officers.
There is still no date for the application to go before the planning committee but it is likely to be one of the October meetings. I will inform readers and residents when I hear confirmation. I have posted here my formal letter of objection: Golf Club Objection Letter . It is also worth pointing out I am not against any development – previous posts about the Local Development Plan indicate my general support for appropriate development.
Readers may also wish to view comments from people who have already objected to the proposals on-line. These can be viewed via this link: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/planning/dc/comments.asp?AppNo=2013/1126&V=1
The boroughs Local Development Plan is commented on in an earlier post on this website, but for new readers the draft plan can be seen here: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/Solihull_Draft_Local_Plan_Sept_2012.pdf
The Planning Inspector, who by law has to review the plan before it can be adopted by the Secretary of State reported his Interim Comments last month and his report can be viewed here: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/Interim_Conclusions.pdf
I am ever the optimist and believe the comments reflect well on the boroughs plan, which hopefully will lead it to be adopted soon. The council has submitted modifications to the plan in respect of these interim conclusions: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/Main_Modifications_document_FINAL_12_July_2013(2).pdf (I have had trouble downloading this – but the report can be read on the council website).
Please find posted the latest report from the Borough’s Neighbourhood Team covering Blythe Ward. You will also read about what is happening other parts of the rural sector, e.g. Knowle, Dorridge, Meriden. Newsletter July 2013
Residents of Cheswick Green, especially those residing in Creynolds Lane may be alarmed at another application by Shirley Golf Club to build homes on green belt farm land in Creynolds Lane and create alter the entrance to the club from the A34 Stratford Road to Creynolds Lane. Posts on this website can be found dated 30 June, 27 July and 16 August 2011 : please see these links to help guide you: http://cllrkenhawkins.co.uk/2011/06/30/golf-acadamy-and-residential-development/ , http://cllrkenhawkins.co.uk/2011/07/27/planning-application-shirley-golf-club/ and http://cllrkenhawkins.co.uk/2011/08/16/shirley-golf-club-planning-application-withdrawn/ .
The latest application is number 2013/1126 and the application can be found via this link: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/planning/dc/ViewApp.asp .
The main difference with this application is the reduced numbers of housing, with proposals for 57 this time. However, the fundamental reasons for me, as well as residents, in successfully opposing the application last time remain. These are; building on green belt land; Creynolds Lane is unsuitable for more traffic and an entrance to the golf club will make this section of the highway unsafe. In addition, this time there is one crucial reason – this site is not considered for development in Solihull’s Local Development Plan (LDP) for which the link is on previous posts. The LDP is likely to be signed off later this year by the Planning Inspectorate.
It must be stated the golf club does admirable work in delivering golf lessons to disabled children and those with special educational needs – I have seen this at work. However, although I can accept the building of the golf academy and driving range I do feel that building homes on the green belt farm land and creating an entrance to the club via Creynolds Lane are justifiable reasons to object to the planning application. I have delivered a letter to residents in Creynolds Lane this afternoon (template here: Residents of Creynolds Lane ) and provided details how to object to the application.
Residents of Cheswick Green will be aware of the public consultation undertaken by Bloor Homes prior to their formal planning application to build as many as 220 new homes on land off Tanworth Lane. To aid readers of this website the leaflet distributed by Bloor Homes is posted here: Tanworth Lane Leaflet
There is some history for the site which, apparently, was to have been built on many years ago but the then developer went into administration. The land was subsequently set aside as ‘safeguarded land’, in many development policies adopted by Solihull Council. This means that the land could be used for development of homes or even be returned to the green belt. This remained the case until recently when the council published its Local Development Plan (http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/Solihull_Draft_Local_Plan_Sept_2012.pdf ). This plan undertook wide consultation and is now before the Planning Inspectorate has held a public inquiry a few months ago. It is probable the plan, known as the LDP, will be formally adopted later this year, hopefully in autumn.
The issue that affects Cheswick Green is that, if the plan is formally adopted, the land is likely to be developed for housing. There are though conditions stipulated in the LDP: firstly the land has been identified for release for development from the year 2023; also there should be a proportion of land for the provision of open space and there should be flood attenuation measures. In fact, the LDP states ‘…only half of the site will be released for development’. It is here the proposals, as published by Bloor Homes and consulted upon, in my view fail.
The design for so many homes (220) does not leave much land for use as recreational land and open space. It is also the case, I feel, that the land that has been identified as open space is not good quality land and part of it has been liable for flooding from the brook at the bottom of the field (the other side which are the rear gardens of Willow Drive). Furthermore, although flood measures are evident, the proposals do not reduce the risk of flooding for homes in Willow Drive. When I questioned the lead representative from Pegasus Group (agents for Bloor Homes) about flood risks I was informed ‘It shouldn’t make things worse’. This was not the answer I wanted to hear; I wanted any development to be able to satisfy residents from Willow Drive and Coppice Walk that development of this site will make things far better. The proposals, as they stand now, fail completely in this regard and will be objected to by myself.
I am writing to Bloor Homes to not submit a formal planning application until the LDP has been formally adopted. I am supportive of Cheswick Green parish Council in this respect. Only once the LDP is clearly accepted can development of the scale shown in the plan, for the whole of the borough, can go ahead. Any prospective development in Blythe Ward needs to take into consideration potential development in Tidbury Green, Dickens Heath and Cheswick Green, additionally looking at time scales for release of land so that development is incremental and does not come all at once.
One further point is the number of places at Cheswick Green Primary School. The school is a ‘two form entry’ and has few spare places; therefore the circumstances may arise that children living at any development on Tanworth Lane may not be able to attend their local school.
There is an e-petition or two about the proposals but in reality there is nothing to object to at the moment – they are only proposals for a public consultation. Additionally, any petition arranged now will not be a lawful petition for planning objection purposes, especially if details in the formal planning application differ from the public consultation.
Once a formal planning application is presented to the local authority I shall update this website accordingly, having details of the application. I have posted some views of the site: these were taken from Tanworth Lane and Coppice Walk.